Digital commerce is often a stand-alone, separate business unit inside many organizations today – one that does not work in collaboration with other groups in the organization. This is a legacy mindset that often materializes based on viewing digital commerce as merely a single sales channel. But in the future, digital commerce will be one, very important, component of an overall business strategy.
Despite demonstrable growth and compelling use cases for improving customer experiences, not all companies have adopted digital commerce today. While it is unusual to find a B2C retailer or brand selling directly to consumers that do not have a digital commerce presence, it is not uncommon in B2B companies or CPG companies.
But all of that is history. Given the world-wide lockdown, large retail and FMCG brands are compelled to relook their sales channel strategy and dive into digital commerce.
At yellow ai, we’re working with large brands that were traditionally offline or depended severely on distribution channels. We’re working shoulder to shoulder enabling them to leverage direct-to-consumer commerce.
With Conversational AI and WhatsApp Chatbots, we’re helping large brands reimagine the future of sales strategy and sales channels for during the global pandemic, and beyond.
Why is Digital Commerce Critical and Complex
The evolution of digital commerce puts increasing pressure on application leaders to keep pace. Not only does digital commerce represent the customer-facing part of many businesses, but it is a key driver of revenue. The range of vendors offering digital commerce platforms and ecosystem capabilities overwhelms many retail and commerce leaders.
A digital commerce platform is the core technology that enables customers to purchase goods and services through an interactive self-service experience. The platform provides necessary information for customers to decide what to purchase and uses rules and data to present fully priced orders for payment. The digital commerce ecosystem is as valuable as the platform itself in providing a differentiated customer experience. It continues to expand to include new applications as new technologies and channels emerge.
Regardless of the scope of the digital commerce ecosystem, digital commerce is always a customer-facing aspect of any business that chooses to pursue it. As a result, optimizing customer experience is critical to success.
Gartner’s surveys show that respondents understand just how important it is to establish a robust digital ecosystem. In the Gartner 2019 Digital Commerce State of the Union Survey, 42% of respondents identified the need to improve customer satisfaction as one of the three most important business drivers for embracing digital commerce. In the same study, 48% of survey respondents said that delivering the desired customer experience was the top challenge facing them in their digital commerce endeavors.
Challenges Faced by Retail Enterprises to go Online
Engaging well with your customers is a mission-critical requirement of digital commerce. The digital commerce technology landscape includes myriad vendors and offerings, which is often confusing. In addition to the digital commerce platform, most commerce ecosystems contain many other components that contribute to the delivery of consistent customer experience.
Regardless of how it is executed and brought together, digital commerce is a very public, customer-facing aspect of any business that chooses to pursue it. As a result, optimizing customer experience is critical to success.
Digital Commerce Technology Landscape
- Digital Commerce platform consists of below technologies:
- Digital commerce service providers
- Digital commerce analytics
- Digital commerce customer service
- Digital commerce payment
- Digital commerce logistics and fulfillment
- Social commerce and marketplaces
- MDM Digital commerce
- Digital commerce marketplace technology
- Digital commerce personalization
- Customer-facing and interactive technology
Challenges Faced by Digital Commerce Endeavors
Digital Commerce Challenges in 2020
Digital commerce in its infancy in the 1990s, (or e-commerce at the time) was limited to a single channel: the web browser. Channel coverage evolved as smartphones became more ubiquitous, with the need to support mobile websites and mobile apps. In a future state, commerce organizations will be faced with the prospect of supporting dozens of different channels, including:
- The web (content or commerce sites)
- Mobile apps or progressive web apps (PWAs)
- Social networks
- Online marketplaces
- Physical locations (stores or branches)
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices and wearables
- Virtual personal assistants (VPAs)
- Smart speakers and smart home devices
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices
- Connected vehicles
- Industrial equipment
- Smart appliances
The global pandemic has left many industries disrupted. And many players have been looking to adopt new technologies to ensure they’re able to drive business continuity. Despite the urgent need to present digital commerce experiences in a manner that is easy to use for customers, the technology used behind the scenes to deliver such experiences can be very complex.
But it does not have to be. Anymore.
Solution: Digital Commerce Over yellow ai’s Conversational AI Chatbots
THE FUTURE IS CONVERSATIONAL, NATURALLY.
The future state of digital commerce will necessitate supporting so many channels that it will be impractical and likely impossible to dedicate individual teams to each one. And that is where, a new age, yet proven technology like Conversational AI-powered commerce can become a tactic and strategy both, to enable digital commerce over the long run.
In the wake of providing essential services, yellow ai collaborated with large retailers in India to help them leverage WhatsApp as a channel to enable Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) commerce.
CASE-STUDY: SPENCER’S RETAIL
COVID-19 brought about an unprecedented upsurge in consumer demand amidst great panic for daily essential needs. Spencer’s Retail started looking for solutions to further its unflinching mission to support the nation’s cause and serve millions of households with daily essentials at their doorstep.
Spencer’s Retail knew that a large proportion of consumers were digitally active, however not very savvy with regular e-commerce ordering for their daily essential needs. To this effect,
they were looking at solutions to reach to millions of unserved households through a convenient and hassle-free platform, which eases the availability and access of daily essentials for its consumers.
The management team at Spencer’s Retail kept in mind all their customer personas and were hunting for a solution that solves for the real India. A solution that’ll see great adoption. Spencer’s caters to many personas. Homemakers and who cherish the conversations with the nearest grocery store in-person or over a call to order daily essentials.
Senior citizens and differently-abled consumers from whom the available technology ordering interfaces are not a convenient or preferred option. Office goers and young couples – who are always on the run and have hectic schedules, even during WFH times.
Spencer’s and yellow ai joined hands together to build a first of its kind and an industry-first product SGA – ‘Spencer’s Grocery assistant’ over WhatsApp, which is the most use proliferated digital platform in India with access to more than 550 million users.
The Spencers Grocery Assistant (SGA) has come across as a revolutionary product for the retail industry. It is an intuitive, AI-powered Chatbot that simplifies grocery and daily essentials ordering across 160 Spencer’s stores in the country.
Now every spencer’s store is just a message away! All that the buyers have to do is add the SGA number to their contact and start chatting on WhatsApp to order. Just like chatting with a friend.
Launched amidst the COVID-19 lockdown in India, SGA became an instant hit with consumers, who are loving the ease of connecting and ordering with any of Spencer’s store.
- Just 5 days to build the Spencer’s Grocery Assistant
- Launched in 33 cities across India
- Launched in 160 stores of Spencers
- 4.5 Million consumer messages sent
- 1100 Plus concurrent conversations every second handled by Spencer’s Grocery Assistant
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Vartika Verma’s professional journey of 13 years has been invested in the area of brand marketing and growth for technology companies. She heads marketing for yellow ai and that keeps her wrapped up around all things AI, growth, performance, PR, content, product marketing. She is also an avid traveller and has visited 24 countries so far. When not working and travelling, she can be found baking, from sugary cakes to healthy food.